Australia's courts will increasingly be forced to deal with conflict between human rights and the sexist cultural traditions of some minorities in Australia, NSW Chief Justice Jim Spigelman has told a public forum at UNSW.
In a wide ranging address entitled Violence against women: the dimension of fear, the Chief Justice spoke of a fundamental conflict between human rights and tolerance of cultural traditions in areas such as violence against women, honour crimes and forced marriages.
"Clearly, on the criminalisation of physical violence the majority culture is not able to compromise," the Chief Justice said. "However questions arise about enforcement and sentencing. It is difficult to know where to draw the line in cases where policies underlying these laws conflict with other policies recognising the respect that should be given to minority cultures."
Justice Spigelman was delivering the inaugural address in a new public lecture series - Law, Governance and Social Justice - an initiative of UNSW's Faculty of Law.
A copy of the speech and a podcast is available on the Faculty website.
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